Euronews: Ericsson Eyes Patents Cash Cow

Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC), KPN Telecom NV (NYSE: KPN) and Swisscom AG (NYSE: SCM) jostle for position in today's lineup of EMEA telecom headlines.

  • Ericsson CEO Hans Vestberg has been telling Bloomberg that the Swedish vendor will be looking to better exploit its patents portfolio in the months and years ahead. In 2010 Ericsson generated SEK 4.6 billion (US$693 million) from its intellectual property, and it said it will be looking to top this figure in 2011. (See Ericsson Maintains 2011 Outlook, Euronews: Sony Buys Ericsson Out of Handsets and Ericsson Sets the Pace in Q3.)

  • Dutch incumbent KPN is clearly taking fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) seriously: It has announced plans to acquire Reggefiber Wholesale and four fiber other service providers currently owned by Reggefiber BV and Reggeborgh, and signalled its intention to take full control of Reggefiber, which it currently shares in a joint-venture agreement with Reggeborgh. (See KPN Focuses on FTTH, KPN Preps 500Mbit/s FTTH and KPN Sticks With IPTV for Its FTTx Future.)

  • Swisscom blamed "price erosion" for a year-on-year 4.9 percent fall in nine-month net revenues, though net income was actually up 8.4 percent for the period at 1.5 billion Swiss francs ($1.6 billion), largely due to provisions having had to have been set aside the previous year to cover VAT-related issues with Italian operator Fastweb SpA (Milan: FWB). (See Swisscom 9M Net Revenue Falls 4.9%.)

  • A study by the GSM Association (GSMA) has confirmed that Africa is now the world's second-largest mobile market (after Asia). Mobile penetration reached 649 million connections in the fourth quarter of 2011 -- though, frustratingly perhaps for operators, 96 percent of subscriptions are still pre-paid. (See GSMA: Africa Is Fastest-Growing Market and Looking at Africa for the Next Big Thing in Mobile.)

  • In the week where we heard that the London 2012 Olympic torch would be given a ride on the famous Needles chairlift on the sun-kissed Isle of Wight as part of its protracted journey to the main Olympic stadium, comes news that BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA) has delivered a cloud-based voice network connecting 25 of the Games' other venues. The service is based on Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO)'s Hosted Unified Communications Services (HUCS) platform. (See BT Provides Voice Service for London Olympics.)

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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